One of the most difficult decisions that any rescue organization has to make is who to rescue. The reality is that none of us can save the world. By focusing on one species, breed or special condition, rescuers can often serve as a point of contact between the animals they rescue and the people interested in adopting them. But there are other considerations.
Twelve years ago, White Bird first defined its mission to specialize in Appaloosas. If you are a fan of these horses, that needs no explanation. We love their calm temperament, intelligence and stoicism, as well as their endless variety of coat patterns. Specializing allowed us to focus on the disorders that are more prevalent in this breed than others, including uveitis, glaucoma and skin cancers. In addition, we chose to rescue horses in order of priority. Those in the most urgent situations would go to the head of the line. But that also meant that many of the most urgent need horses would not be Appaloosas. That’s okay with us. We have always had the opinion that a bottle of “White-Out” could put spots on anybody, if it was really that important.
But this second criterion is also our recognition that sometimes, what these horses most need is time. People contact us because they have lost their jobs, health or homes. They are simply unable to care for their horses and are trying to do the right thing. In most cases, horses can find homes through networking or advertising. If they can find homes through those avenues, they don’t need to be rescued. But others, especially those that are aged, or have health or soundness issues, may have few takers and the clock jus runs out on them. Sometimes, their owners are just unable to fully face the situation until the last minute. The end result is the same: the horse needs a safe landing place immediately.
Given time, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot, a new home can often be found. But at a point, time is the critical factor.
Noelle is a Thoroughbred mare who was purchased at the Camelot auction, still lactating and clearly just separated from her foal. She was sent to a rescue whose volunteer rider bonded with her strongly. Over time, the rider moved way and the rescue subsequently folded. Noelle and her equine companion were sent to White Bird. But Noelle’s friend never forgot about her. And after three years, she went looking for her. Her search led her here and back to her old friend.
Noelle went home with Amanda this week. We were so happy to send this sweet mare back to the person who knows her so well and who loved her enough to keep looking. And we were happy to be there when she needed help. Not every horse that we accept is a rack of bones when we get them. But they are absolutely at risk if they have nowhere to go, and without help, many will go downhill fast. They are also prime targets for resellers and slaughter buyers, who may have no competition.
There is a lot that went right in this story. We had a compassionate volunteer, a responsible rescuer and a second rescue with the ability to serve as a safety net. Without these elements, Noelle could have ended up right back at the auction, or worse. But rescues need support in order to fill this critical role. Please help us to do that. And then help us thank everyone who has been there over the years to make this story possible- and provide the happy ending.